Long days; loading and unloading the coach several times a day; gigs in cramped venues; setting up and dismantling a drum kit five or six times a day; outdoor performances in cold and/or windy conditions perhaps with rain threatening; meals at funny times; and performing without the chance to test the acoustic are all in a day’s work for the Nevis Ensemble. 

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Saturday 24 August, as those of you who followed our Hebridean tour will know, was the day we were originally scheduled to travel to St Kilda and perform to the locals (mostly the hardy Soay sheep – one of the oldest sheep breeds in the world!) However, in the days preceding it became apparent that it was going to have to be Sunday 25 instead because of the high winds, so we suddenly we had a day to ourselves!

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Hebrides Tour – Day 10 – St Kilda

Visiting St Kilda was probably the most memorable part of the Hebrides Tour for many of the Nevis players. Here, I’m going to attempt to share the range of strong emotions we experienced during the trip, and to explain why it was so special for us to play on Hirta, the main island of the St Kilda archipelago.

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Our last full day of rehearsals before we began the Nevis Hebrides Tour was packed with unique experiences to accompany our tour preparations! Starting off after breakfast at 7:30am, we had the option of a yoga session or a hillwalk around Garelochhead. Following this we headed straight into sectionals With Katherine Wren, myself joining the strings for a further look at Grace Williams’ luscious ‘Sea Sketches’.

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Seven Things I Learnt About Climbing Mountains, Whilst Semi-Successfully Carrying My Saxophone Up A Mountain

We at Nevis love a challenge, and in August 2018 on Day 7 of our inaugural tour we climbed Ben Nevis as an orchestra to perform a concert at the summit. I’ll admit, I had never climbed an actual mountain before, only average-sized hills, but this was a day that I was super excited for, as I really do love challenges – particularly those that I question my competence for. In my subsequent words, I shall reflect on this experience through identifying a number of observations I made throughout this rather exciting day.

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As a member of Nevis Ensemble, I am able to see first-hand the fruition of the vision music for everyone, everywhere, and I feel so lucky that I can be a part of this mission. Over the last year, I have found that playing in concerts with Nevis helps me focus on what is really important about being a musician. I think less about if my reed is a little dry or hard and more about why I chose to be a musician in the first place – to spread the joy of music to those who might not be able to, or might not have considered going to the concert hall to see an orchestra. 

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